The image Barbados concocts in most people’s minds is that of postcard-like endless beaches and cute little Caribbean towns, and whilst these pictures indeed reflect the beauty and charm of this island, they by no means are a complete representation of all it has to offer. My colleague Gosia, at The Holiday Place wanted to see the whole picture. This is why during Gosia’s second Barbados visit she endeavoured to dig a little deeper into real and authentic Barbadian culture, get to know the rural parts of the island and move around the country to see different sights and experience more unique adventures. So, on she went and packed her itinerary full of different cities, regions, landscapes and, of course, different hotels along the way to get to see sides of Barbados she hadn’t before. Browse through her personal photoblog below to see just what she encountered on her enriching journey.
Digging deep in the Barbadian beauty, beyond postcard-perfect beaches (but including those too) you can follow her journey along this magical island in a quest to find new sights, new sceneries and new regions that were unbeknownst to her on her previous trips to this gem of a Caribbean island.
BRIDGETOWN – WALK AROUND TOWN
Like most other Caribbean towns, Barbados’ colourful and lively capital of Bridgetown has that unmistakable laidback vibe that makes a stroll along it an always pleasurable and interesting experience. This time around Gosia devoted more time than usual to getting to know it well, investigating every nook and cranny and identifying new sights she hadn’t come across before.
She particularly enjoyed the waterfront Bridgetown Boardwalk, officially called the Wickham Lewis Boardwalk and lined by beautiful yachts on one side and many vivacious shops on the other. Across the water you can also admire some stunning architecture and iconic buildings, such as the Parliament and, at the very end of it, the Carlisle Wharf Building; a mini park with benches, pathways and information plaques giving you insight into Bajan pirates and the South Carolina connection. On this end, you will also find the cannons at James Fort, another pretty picturesque sight that she didn’t photograph but wishes she had now.
There’s little to say about his coastal beauty that the photos themselves don’t make pretty self-explanatory. The smooth blanket of powdery soft pinkish sand beautifully contrasts against the aquamarine shades of the tranquil waters that softly crash onto the shore with a foamy splash. Just contemplating the waves come and go is mesmerising in itself, almost hypnotic.
Beautifully secluded most of the time, on this wonderfully curved cove, you’ll always find a spot to have all to yourself in this magnificent beach, perfectly fringed by a mountainous lush rainforest and dotted by a few resorts (one of which Gosia was lucky enough to stay at).
RADISSON AQUATICA – CARLISLE BAY
Gosia’s “humble” abode (major understatement alert!) on Carlisle Bay was the spectacular Radisson Aquatica, a gorgeous beach-facing retreat where, after a speedy and warm private check-in, she was lucky enough to be given an instant upgrade to a Business Class Room on the seventh floor, offering sweeping views over the beach. Little touches such a bottle of wine awaiting her in her room and a welcome note from the manager helped made the stay extra special.
There is a fantastic Yacht Club onsite that she made use of and which you can also see pictured here (great fun as Gosia recalls).
During her stay she got a first-hand glimpse of the new private pier being currently built (see above photo) to include six exclusive new suites that will stand over the tranquil aquamarine lagoon and which are expected to be finished and ready to welcome guests by December this year.
SPAGO RESTAURANT – SETTLERS BEACH
Gosia retells how she loved the dining experience at the Spago Restaurant in Settler’s Beach, a fabulous venue set right over the ocean, so close you could almost dip your feet in the water. She is only sorry she didn’t travel to Barbados with a significant other on this occasion but if she had she reckons it would have been a most romantic meal indeed.
GULLY NATURE WALK
Gosia’s next stop on her discovery of Barbados was the sleepy beachside town of St Peter, where she stayed at the fabulous Sugar Cane Club, and where, as part of the hotel stay, they included an incredible nature walk around the property’s lush surroundings – a real treat for the senses!
A group of guests were lead by the hotel’s head gardener who showed them around pointing at various plants, trees and endemic species. One curious fact they learnt on the route was that the island was called Barbados by the Portuguese conquerors because of the “bearded” appearance of the island’s fig trees, which were abundant.
Gosia’s group was also shown (see photo above of the gardener holding a massive piece of coral) how the island was entirely composed of coral which meant that tap water was safe to drink here. They also got to sample the little small fruit called Spanish lime (among many other names Caribbean folks call it) which has a sweet and refreshing tang to it. At the end of the hike, coconuts were picked fresh from the tree, cut and served to everyone in the party – the perfect thirst-quenching way to end an enriching excursion!
SUGAR CANE CLUB – ST PETER
Gosia’s stay in St Peter was made all the more special by the resort she stayed at, a peaceful and beautiful adults-only property, perfectly nestled amidst breathtaking greenery and landscaped gardens as well as facing a most idyllic stretch of beach.
The grounds are extensive and magnificently manicured, the onsite pool is so inviting and uncrowded you are actually faced with a dilemma over where to sunbathe; here or the ocean. And to top it all off there are excellent facilities to occupy your time with, such as an excellent onsite art gallery, a serene spa and chil out area surrounded by blossoming gardens. A most rejuvenatingly soothing stay where our Gosia rested off all the previous adventures and prepared for the ones to come.
Now, as Gosia recalls, this Island Safari Excursion, offered and organised by Sun Group is the best way to get a real taste of the island and see much facets of it that would otherwise go unnoticed on the average beach holiday. It’s the best way to see the island in a more informal way and access areas of stunning beauty where a taxi can’t take you. Gosia’s driver and guide took her travelling gourp to many interesting places around Barbados, some of great historical importance, others of ravishing beauty and others with a rich heritage.
They stopped first at the great St Nicholas Abbey, a former plantation house and now rum distillery in St Peter with a riveting history. Here you are given a brief introduction of its history and owners while at the end you get to sample some local tipple – no less than 10- and 15-year-old rum!
Then you’re in for a scenic drive along the beautiful East Coast and its eye-catching beaches before you stop at a popular eatery for lunch where you’ll enjoy a freshly caught and prepared meal – yum! Along the way you stop at the magnificent Morgan Lewis Windmill, the only intact sugar mill in the island and the fourth of the Seven Wonders of Barbados.
BOAT TRIP AND SWIM WITH TURTLES
One of the most amazing experiences of Gosia’s lifetime was to swim among turtles and she got to do exactly just that in Barbados! She went on about how words simply fail to describe the experience as you find yourself surrounded by these majestic gentle creatures, swimming slowly towards you to take the bait that the boat driver offers them.
I had read about this amazing experience from my colleague blogger, Sasha Wood, who in her Barbados: Laid-back Little England – Part II perfectly described how she enjoyed the rare opportunity of floating right next these striking marine animals. But to live it, as you can imagine, is a thousand times better than to read it. Everyone should do this, at least once in their lifetime – something like this is truly impossible to regret.
THE CLUB BARBADOS
For her last days in Barbados Gosia enjoyed a few days of utter relaxation at The Club Barbados before heading back home. And she couldn’t have been better looked after with the fantastic entertainment options, the great dining venues and, of course, the seamlessly never-ending turquoise beach.
Yet another adults-only for people above 16 (she wanted it to be known that she has nothing against children, she loves them in fact, she just wanted her time in these resorts to be more about chills than thrills, and little ones are all about the latter).
Ideal for honeymooners, couples and older families, this great all-inclusive resort provided our Gosia with the battery-recharging she needed while still offering plenty of shopping, activities and excursions just minutes away.
SNAPSHOTS OF BARBADOS
As you can see, Barbados is a land of many varied attractions beyond the lure of the pretty pink sands and turquoise waters. These random snapshots give but an insight of the many ways to explore it and the many places to see. Try it yourself, step out of the all-inclusive resort, book an exciting excursion, go a little off the beaten track and prepare to be delightfully amazed.